I Sing Because I'm Free!

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do stuff with your kids


one day I’ll look back-

grateful for the time I spent

being with my girls

I love haikus. They say a lot with few words. Sometimes lots of words make me tired, lol!

Like yesterday- for some reason I was really, really tired. I could chalk it up to the time change and still getting adjusted to that, but I was really wanting to take a nap when I got home yesterday afternoon.

And then my daughters got home. One of my girls has been begging me every day to take one of our dogs to the dog park (the other one of them is not so friendly, that’s for another post, lol…). I said earlier in the week that it would be too muddy from all the rain we have had lately- which was true. It is also true that I am tired and don’t feel like going anywhere extra once the girls get home.

She asked me again yesterday. My whole “muddy” excuse didn’t really fly after the few gorgeous, sunny days we have had here. I began to think about what a blessing it is that my 16 year old daughter really WANTS me to do something with her. I began to think about all the other things that will eventually get in the way of her time… a job, college (one day), future relationships, children… the list goes on and on. One day she will be too busy for me.

So I made an extra cup of coffee and said “Sure! Let’s go!”

Can I tell you what a joy it was for me to say yes to her?

All smiles, she was, as we got into the car with our friendly fur baby! She beamed from ear to ear the entire drive. She kept saying how she hoped there would be other dogs there that ours could be friends with. And sure enough, we pulled up to the dog park, and there were several dogs playing.

Our dog pranced around the fenced in park- reveling in his newfound freedom. I sat on a bench and watched as my daughter went up to strangers to talk to them about their dogs. I was so proud of her. She is shy and it takes a lot for her to initiate conversation with strangers, but dogs are her love language. Bring a dog around her and she can’t help but be joyful.

It was a perfect afternoon.

My other daughter asked me to do something with her today.

This time I didn’t hesitate.

I can’t wait for our afternoon together ūüôā

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court- Psalm 127:3-5

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these are the days

these are the days

of loud music blaring in cars

girls belting tunes

as if they were the stars

these are the days

of selfies and laughs

dabbling in makeup

and perfecting the craft

these are the days

when emotions run low… and high

these are the days

that too quickly will pass by


I can hardly believe that my oldest daughter just turned 16. How did that even happen?! I remember finding out I was pregnant with her and the overwhelming joy I experienced when I held her in my arms as a newborn. It seems like yesterday, and yet it was a lifetime ago.

Katie

I remember celebrating all their “firsts”… the first smile, laugh, their first bite of baby food, sitting up, crawling, walking… the list goes on and on. It seemed like those days of them being children would last forever!

My youngest just got braces last week and lost her last baby tooth (finally!!) the week before. And after only a week, I look at her and see the remnants of her sweet baby face fading away…

Sigh.

Sixteen is way way to close to eighteen…and way too close to technically being an adult. And I am so not ready for that.

Not at all.

But life keeps on marching whether I’m ready or not!

Sophie

So for today, I will savor every car ride with the girls and I’ll let them turn up the music. I’ll laugh along at their crazy stories and selfies. I’ll let them put makeup on me and style my hair, and I’ll let them invite their friends over often. And those moments when motherhood overwhelms and stresses me out- I will remind myself to soak up all the joy I can.

Because one day they will be out of the house and all will be quiet.

And that day is coming way, way too soon!

Train up a child in the way he should go,
[aAnd when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Me and my Soph
Me and my birthday girl- Katie
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Only Jesus

It has been bitterly cold lately.

How cold is it?

So cold, that my semi-damp hair freezes in chunks when I walk the dogs!

So cold, that I think I have gotten a little bitter myself.

I really despise that about me. I see how easy it is for me come up with excuses for why I am in a bad mood. After it snowed a couple of weeks ago, I slipped and fell down the front porch stairs while holding a dog leash in each hand. My tailbone hit every step on the way down and then smacked against the icy asphalt. I laid there on the ice and cried because the pain was so bad. And there was no one home to help. Thankfully I didn’t break anything, but it left me in a lot of physical discomfort.

Sitting, standing, walking…getting in and out of the car… all the normal daily things I did brought me constant discomfort. It took a solid two weeks for me to be able to walk around without being in constant pain. I was GRATEFUL to wake up yesterday and hop right out of bed like my usual self!

But this morning, I see how easy it has been for me to allow myself to wallow in my own misery, and to make excuses for it. How quick I have been to complain and become frustrated with little things. How I have been snappy with my family and have thought of every excuse to justify my attitude.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5

What would Jesus say about my bad mood? I think He would tell me no one owes me anything for falling down those steps that day. I think He would tell me to be grateful that I wasn’t more severely injured. I think He would tell me to lean into Him more and not expect anything from other people. I think He would tell me how incredibly blessed I am.

Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past- Isaiah 43:18

He would tell me to stop focusing on my circumstances, and start focusing on Him.

The moment I begin worship and focus on Jesus- I am free from my selfish ways.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 3:13-14

Keep your eyes on the prize!

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Two Years of Freedom

I’m finally free-¬†

free from the bondage of food

now I eat to LIVE 

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Today marks 2 years since I found food freedom! ¬†Two years ago today, I embarked on a new way of eating- a plan called “Trim Healthy Mama”, developed by two fabulous sisters named Pearl and Serene.

Before I tried THM, I was a slave to numbers- counting and imputing the calories of everything I ate in my phone apps.  Counting how many calories I would burn on the treadmill or the elliptical.  Food was a reward and a punishment for me.  And the guilt I experienced when I skipped a day of working out, or when I would eat something indulgent was ridiculous.

And even though I did all the things I thought would help me reach a healthy weight- the weight loss never came. ¬†Just a feeling of discouragement. ¬†I couldn’t lose a pound- no matter how little I restricted my calories and how much I would work out. I was exhausted all the time and miserable.

But two years ago, I traded in all those habits for something NEW!  I got rid of those calorie counting apps, and ditched the scale.  I stopped counting calories and I stopped working out completely for a while.  I cut out sugar and bread.  I ate well balanced meals with lots of protein, veggies, and occasional healthy grains.

I traded in my sugary creamers for stevia and half and half in my coffee- and I actually love it that way now!

I lost about 35 pounds in 8 months, but I gained so much more!  For the last two years, I have learned how to eat to live instead of living to eat.  I feel better than I have in years, and I have stayed at a healthy weight for the last year and a half without much effort.

I am praising the LORD tonight for the freedom I have found from food!

I know not everything works for everyone- but if you have struggled with weight loss or self control when it comes to food, I would highly recommend you look up THM. ¬†The rules are simple- eat protein at every meal, only eat every 3 hours, and have healthy fats OR healthy carbs with your protein at every meal. ¬†Never mix fats and carbs together if you are trying to reach a healthy weight. ¬†That’s the basic idea of the eating plan. ¬†No special ingredients are needed. ¬†It’s that simple!

If I can do it- anyone can do it! ¬†In fact, my whole family has decided to do it with me beginning tomorrow. I can’t wait to see the changes in my family as they begin their journey with me in 2019!

And fyi- the newest book- Trim Healthy Table is available as an ebook at Barnes and Noble for ¬†$1.99! ¬†That’s a steal of a deal!! ¬†Here’s a link-

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trim-healthy-mamas-trim-healthy-table-pearl-barrett/1126396593?ean=9780804189996&st=PLA&sid=BNB_NOOK+EBooks&sourceId=PLAGoNA&dpid=tdtve346c&2sid=Google_c&gclid=Cj0KCQiAmafhBRDUARIsACOKERPxw2Q8i_9YNOFQX8xGGSaUB-fC5pGMLXwl8JFm15onx-nzFrGE2oEaAvZDEALw_wcB#/

I hope all of you have a very blessed New Year!!!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  

2 Corinthians 5:17

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glory gazin’

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we’re glory gazin’

chowing down on Chick-fil-a

the sky- our dessert! 

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Having two teenage daughters is… interesting. ¬†I never quite know what to expect. ¬†One minute they are screaming at each other, the next minute they are hysterically laughing together. ¬†It is an adventure, for sure!

The other day, I picked the girls up early from school due to an orthodontist appointment.  Hubby was out of town for work, so I decided to stay in town and take the girls to Chick-fil-a for dinner after our appointment.  As we pulled through the drive thru, I noticed the sky was beginning to change colors.

¬†When you feed your teenagers Chick-Fil-a, they will smile and agree to anything! ¬†They were in the best mood. Let’s watch the sunset, I suggest. ¬†Since they were happily eating CFA , they naturally obliged. ¬† As we drove around, my youngest daughter stuck her hand out of the window-

Look, Mom- even the sun is shining down on my Chick-Fil-A milkshake! 

lol. I had to chuckle at that one!

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His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand- Habakkuk 3:4

We parked in the shopping center across the street and took in the beautiful evening. ¬†The girls were hysterically laughing at each other, taking “selfies” because it was “glow time” (sunset lighting) and I thought my heart would burst. ¬†Any strife that may have occurred earlier in the day paled in comparison to the joy we experienced in the car. ¬†It was the perfect evening.

On the ride home, I literally cried from laughing so hard at the girls. They can be so funny sometimes.

It has been way too long since I have laughed like that.

I never realized how quickly their childhood would fly by.

I am savoring every moment-

and realizing how short life is!

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  

Psalm 27:13

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Windows

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Separate 

inside from out 

behind curtains 

we peek out 

 illumination 

cannot hide

the life that carries on 

inside 

I have been thinking a lot about windows.

I have always loved glancing into windows of the homes we pass by when we drive through neighborhoods.

Shakespeare said it best- “Eyes are the windows to your soul”.

We had a family picture taken recently at church. ¬†It’s nothing short of a minor miracle that both girls and hubby agreed to sit for a photo. As a mom of two teenage daughters, we have reached the stage where no pictures are taken without lots of preparation. ¬†Of course, I tell my girls how beautiful they are all the time… how they don’t need makeup. ¬†I tell them they could wear brown sacks and still be beautiful!

But I can sometimes be such a hypocrite.

Because the first thing I said when I saw the picture was how un-photogenic I am. ¬†I always have some strange expression on my face, I’m not looking in the right direction, I have a weird, “fake” smile, or my eyes are half-way closed. ¬†Any combination of those things is what I usually see when I look at a picture of myself.

And this photo brought out the same reaction in me.  I actually laughed out loud at what my husband said to me when I showed the picture to him.

I said, “Look babe- it’s such a great pic of you and the girls! ¬†Not so great of me- I am always un-photogenic.”

Without skipping a beat, he says “what kind of super-model expectation do you have of yourself? It is a perfectly fine picture of you!”¬†

Good question.

Why can’t my eyes see the things that other people see in me?

I think social media is a huge culprit.  Instagram and snapchat have these lovely filters that make you look like a million bucks. And then when you see pictures of other people online, many times we are looking at these same filtered photos- masking what people really look like.

That, along with all of the anti-aging ads for women doesn’t help our self-worth. ¬†There are literally hundreds of wrinkle creams- for your eyes, face, neck, lips… you name a body part, ¬†and I’m sure you can find the perfect cream to improve it. ¬†And hair- I have finally settled for the hair color with the least maintenance- highlights a few times a year. ¬†Low maintenance appearance is my goal!

What makes a house a home? ¬†It’s the love of the family that lives inside.

What makes a person beautiful? It’s not how few gray hairs you have, not how smooth your skin is, not being the perfect size. ¬†It’s not even about having the perfect smile, or outfit.

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

It’s what’s in your heart.

I want to see the world through His eyes.  I want to see YOU through His eyes.

And in order to do that, we have to begin with seeing ourself the way He sees us.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

Let the light of Christ shine through your windows!

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May our “windows” reflect the Son!

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light-  Matthew 6:22

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Happy Thanksgiving!!! 

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a little closer to home

I’ve wandered near and far

in search of you

looked high and low

for a perfect view

when all the while

all I had to do

was look

a little

closer

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When my husband has the whole weekend off, I love for us to do things together.  He is a meticulous planner, and I am a fly-by-the seat of my pants girl.  It works out pretty well for both of us!  A little give-and-take goes a long way, and compromise is always a winner for both of us.

So the other night, I randomly suggested we go to the lake together to watch the sunset.  Why have we never thought to do this in our 14 years of living in this neighborhood?!  

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We journeyed the 5 minutes down the street to the marina, parked the car, and found a resting spot against the guard rail.  The sky was absolutely gorgeous. Just stunning.

We could see Carter’s Mountain off in the distance from the lake. And there were pontoon boats tarrying near the marina, taking in the spectacular view.

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Sometimes I think about how much time I waste looking for something better- like looking for a better sunset view….

when we had a perfectly fine view right here all along!

He put your feet on a wonderful road
    that took you straight to a good place to live- Psalm 107:7

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You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  

Psalm 16:11

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born to fly

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You can’t

keep a butterfly 

down

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born to fly- 

won’t stay¬†

on the ground 

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flitting and floating 

you’d think it was gloating

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that her post-cocoon

freedom 

was found! 

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“Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest”- ¬†Psalm 55:6

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My girls went back to school this past week. ¬†It spiraled me into a mini- midlife crisis, realizing that BOTH of my daughters are now in high school! ¬† I started thinking about how few years they have left before they will one day “fly”.

That morning, I went to sit up at the cross on the hill behind our church.  It was a beautiful day, despite the extreme heat and humidity.  As soon as I got to the top of the hill, I noticed there were an unusual amount of butterflies flying around me.  One in particular was HUGE!  Bigger than my hand!  It was bright blue and reminded me of a peacock.  Every time it landed, I tried to get a picture of it- and as soon as I took a step forward, off it went again.  It stayed right near me the whole time I was at the cross, never staying in one place long enough for me to get a picture.

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The funny thing is that my girls have become like that, too! ¬†I asked to take a picture of them on the morning before they went off for their first day of school- ¬† “Mommmm…. PLEASE don’t “post” a picture of us anywhere!”

Gone are the days of making them pose for sweet smiley school pictures and waiting with them for the bus at our bus stop… gone are the days of controlling their every move!

They are preparing for take off, shedding layers of their childhood cocoons one day at a time.  And as the days fly by- they are needing me less and less.

It is a juxtaposition of feelings-

both bittersweet and overflowing joy.

“You may outgrow my lap, but never my heart”

Рauthor unknown 

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but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.  

Isaiah 40:31

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take the picture

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 blink too fast 

and before you know it 

the moment is gone 

with nothing to show for it 

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tick tock ticking- 

time’s passing me by¬†

so I’ll keep my camera¬†

close to my eye 

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I had the joy of spending the entire day with my oldest daughter this past weekend.¬† It was a perfect day.¬† I have spent a lot of time with both girls recently as they have had multiple snow days off of school, added onto the 2+ weeks off for Christmas break… let’s just say the girls were getting a little tired of one another!¬† They are as different as night and day, and being with the both of them can be emotionally and mentally exhausting.¬† And honestly, we were all ready to get back into a routine!

So back to my day… we took a road trip, and my normally quiet, tired teen was bubbly, giggly, and chatty the entire day!¬† We talked about everything from school to politics to her friends- all the things I wish she would talk about with me ALL of the time!

Having her all to myself allowed me to appreciate her so much more…how she likes peace and quiet,¬† how she, too,¬† loves coffee (just like me!), and her desire to have as many dogs as she can possibly take care of when she’s on her own.

As we were heading home that evening, I noticed the sky was brewing up a beautiful sunset.  I wanted to enjoy every second of that evening.

“Living in the moment is so overrated, ” my daughter told me.

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

“Like how everyone says not to take pictures- to just enjoy the moments… that’s silly. Take the picture. Then you’ll always have something to look back on to remember the moments.”

Wise words from my (almost) 15 year old-

and I even have a few pictures to remember it ūüôā

You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. 

Ecclesiastes 11:9

 

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Christmas Dishes

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I was feeling a little melancholy the other day as I was fixing a day-after Thanksgiving meal for the 4 of us.  Now that the girls are getting older, holidays just feel different.   I miss the girls being little and wanting to spend time with me.   I miss the excitement of Santa and long toy lists and just the sheer giddiness that exudes from children this time of year.

As I was cooking dinner, my oldest came out of “hiding” (she spends lots of time in her room now) and she asked me about what sorts of traditions I did with my family as a kid.

Did you have lots of Christmas decorations when you were little?

I remembered the¬†glass candle globes with holly berries around them that we placed on our coffee table and dining room table.¬† And we always hung mistletoe in the hallway.¬† And there were these Christmas dishes…

Wait a minute- you had Christmas dishes?  For some reason, that piqued her interest.

Actually, I have them somewhere in the garage packed away. 

And like that, my oldest daughter was a giddy child on a mission to find them.

I went to the garage with her, and we dug through several bins looking for them.  Lo and behold- we found the magic tub filled with the Christmas dishes.

“I can’t believe you never told us about these!”

I helped her bring the tub upstairs, and then I watched as she took out every piece and neatly stacked it on the kitchen counter.¬† She snapped a picture of the dishes to send to her friend. “It doesn’t take much to make me excited!” She grinned from ear to ear as she sent her friend a text with the picture of the treasure she found in the garage.

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Why have we never used these?!”¬† she asked me.

“I didn’t want to take the chance of breaking them when you girls were younger.”¬† And that was the honest truth.¬† I remember my aunt got us those dishes for Christmas when I was really young, and they were special to me.

I told her if she wanted us to use the dishes then she needed to hand wash all of them.  She happily obliged, and then she set the table for our day-after-Thanksgiving meal with our fancy Christmas dishes.

And as we ate together as a family that evening, I was filled with joy.¬† Something as simple as eating on a plate with a Christmas tree used to make me so excited as a kid!¬† Knowing that those same¬†dishes brought the same joy to my daughter’s face that day overwhelmed my heart with gladness.

And just like that- something old that had been packed away years ago became new again…and a new family tradition has begun!

    Old things have disappeared, and look! all things have become new!            

     2 Corinthians 5:17

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